Poor Phil Dawson.
Now in his 18th NFL season, the veteran place-kicker has experienced the playoffs just twice, in 2002 with the Browns and 2013 in his first season in San Francisco.
Now, at 1-9, his 49ers certainly won’t be giving him another bite at the postseason in January.
Yet Dawson, 41, continues to be one of the league’s best. As the Niners head toward Sunday’s game against the Dolphins in Florida, the team has one of the league’s worst offenses and its bottom-ranked defense but one of its best field-goal kickers.
Dawson is 14-of-15 on field-attempts this season, a 93.3 percent success rate that ranks No. 3 in the NFL. His only miss has come from beyond 50 yards. He’s also perfect on extra points.
And, in last week’s loss to the New England Patriots, Dawson’s early 33-yard field goal gave him 400 for his career, making him just the 10th NFL kicker ever to reach that number.
Dawson told the media that the ball he kicked through the uprights will have a special place in his home in Austin, Texas.
“That will be one that as I’m done playing, whenever that is, I’ll appreciate that ball even more,” he said. “Right now I’m still doing my thing and trying to get ready for another opponent. I can’t really go into grandpa-reflection mode yet, but as time goes by, I think I’ll really enjoy that one.”
For his career, Dawson has made 400-of-472 attempts, a career success rate of 84.7 percent. In his four seasons in San Francisco, he’s been even better, at 87.2 percent. Since his rookie season of 1999, he’s also made 38-of-54 attempts from 50 or more yards (70.3 percent).
Dawson said he appreciated how his teammates celebrated his career milestone with him during the game against the Patriots.
“Well, I’ve always tried to be just one of the guys on the team,” Dawson told Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. “I never wanted to be the weird kicker that did his own thing. To have that kind of reception means a lot to me, given my efforts through the years. I try to be a football player and just go kick the ball on fourth down, so I’ll remember that for a long time.”
Kickoff for the game against the Dolphins Sunday is set for 10 a.m. in the Bay Area.